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Coming off Olanzapine

I have been on Olanzapine or over 6 years now from when I was diagnosed Borderline personality traits and all I can say is that I have endured 6 years of living hell. I have been taking 10mg every night for that time and piled on loads of weight, felt lethargic no confidence and started experiencing heart pains. I have had absolutely zero social life in that time and felt unable to think or communicate with other people. I decided just over a month ago to stop the treatment and now am starting to feel much better. I have lost a stone in 2 weeks and look much better ,I am now able to think clearly and have much more energy and motivation to do things. To help me stop the Olanzapine I have avoided alcohol completely (this always put me back to square one in the past). I am finding it difficult to get off to sleep without the aid of the drug but more excercise through the day is helping with this. I will never return to taking this drug again as I feel it has robbed me of 6 years of my life.

325 Replies

  • dear markuk

    my experience of olanzapine is very similar to yours. but my worse nightmare is trying to come off it. its taken me months of very distressing anxiety symptoms every time i reduce (once a fortnight). however, at night when i suffer the most i drink a glass of cider which helps me thru and calms me down. i'm currently on the tiniest dose of 0.5mg at night, so NEARLY there. another month should see me off it entirely. my advise to anyone even considering reducing is to do it extremely slowly. and wait till your settled on the lower dose a couple of weeks before reducing again. i believe it's called \"discontinuation syndrome\" and has a high incidence coming off olanzapine and is not true withdrawal symptoms.

    • Guest

      I'm trying to come off olanzapine but I get muddled thoughts till I have 2.5 mg in the morning.i was on 10mg at night.then went to 7.5 but reducing it by 1.5 has caused the muddled thoughts. Is there anything that can help with that while coming off olanzapine ?

    • Guest


      May I ask how much mg were you on?

      I am reducing from 7.5 and feeling not great, lots of anxiety, not interested in activities, just like a zombie.

      Were these your similar symptomps?

      Thanks Zuzana

    • zuzana17

      Hello Zuzana

      You have to be mindful that everyone is different and it is not a good idea to copy another’s tapering.

      The real problem for you is whether the meds’ are making you unwell or some sort of mental illness.

      Olanzapine is overused- prescribed for any number of mental conditions because it has a mind numbing effect.

      I have never seen a good word written for it but you don’t have to look far to see many sad tales of lives ruined by it.

      Be guided by your psych but remember; no one knows you better than yourself. Get out as much as you can and live as full a life as you’re able. It is not a practice run.

      Best wishes , Mel

  • My partner suffers from bipolar. He has been on olanzapine for a year and similar to markuk he has missed a year of his life and a year of his children growing up. Whilst on the drug I can only discribe him as being like a zombie and just breathing and not living. He was a slim, intelligent Telecoms engineer but whilst on olanzapine he is too druged up to do anything and spent most of his time asleep. He is carrying so much extra weight it is hard for him to function. He is very determined to make himself and his family happy and has joined a gym, stopped taking the tablet and stopped smoking. I don't recomend drinking to anyone in similar positions as I think it just prolongs the agony and is a mask rather than a cure. Healthy eating and lifestyle is hopefully what is going to help my boyfriend live a long and happy life. I'm very proud of him because I think he's opting out of the easy option of being a vegetable (something that society wants). It is far easier for doctors to recommend these drugs as they drug up the patients so that they do not have to deal with them. Anyway, it's early days I'm keen to know how markuk got on being olanzapane free

  • I have been taking olanzapine for 5 years. To be honest, I had no symptoms, except possibly weight gain as a result. I have been slowly coming off it. My dose was 5 mg/ night. Coming off it was no problem. Almost like I wasn't even taking it. I have a minute amount to cut out and then I'm done with it. My doctor gave me 3-month periods of cutting back , eg. 1/2 tablet at a time, but I thought this was ridiculous to have to wait this long, so I speeded It up, and there were no symptoms at all because of the withdrawal of this drug, unless you want to count ... A better mood. It will be so nice to be drug free. I do think it was helpful when I was taking all of it regularly with sertraline, which I am in the middle of giving up too. So Good luck, everyone. I'm fed up taking pills.

    • bev11

      It is really helpful to read your post, my son has been on sertraline and olanzapine for a year and has just halfed his olanzapine dose so came on here today to see what the impact of reduction is.  knowing that you can start to come off drugs is good to see and like you they have helped him to date.  fingers crossed that there will be no impact with coming off them.  thanks

    • colette96619

      Hi.  I cant believe this. I came on here for the same reason as you. I'm genuinely interested to hear how your son is doing 6 months down the line.   Can you share?  My son is also on Sertraline and is now reducing his Olanzapine.  He has stayed off drugs and alcohol for many months now and is looking forward to his brain 'working again' and to feeling motivated and get out of his bedroom.  Are these hopes realistic.. Best wishes.

    • bev11

      I'm on Olanzapine for the past 5 years. I'm taking 5mg Olanzapine now and doing well now. Planning to stop the medication now because knowing the side effect. Please tell me in detail how to stop the Olanzapine. U can reply my post here. Thanks a lot. If anyone know to how to stop Olanzapine,you are welcomed to PM me or reply my post here.

      Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service.

  • I'm at a loss as to why my psych prescribed this for me. I am weaning off diazepam & zopiclone. I've had some serious bowel probs,(long story) now nearly resolved, have severe osteoarthritis, and I experience phantom limb pain due to below right knee amputation. I was prescribed Tramadol for my arthritis. It gave me anxiety hell. After 4-5 weeks, I weaned off over 2 weeks, then just stopped ct. Was quite happy with no anxiety. Then a dear friend suddenly turned nasty & insulting, harassing me with hurtful emails, all over money. This was the last straw, on top of all my health issues, & weaning off the 2 meds, which was causing some anxiety, but nothing major, a little down at times too Told my psych. She prescribed olanzapine She said it's non-addictive. I researched it, as I hadn't researched valium & zopiclone when put on those, and they caused many probs, (I was put on valium to supposedly help with my tinnitus, zopiclone as I'd had a bout of sleeping trouble, due to pain) so, after reading up on this olanzapine, I'm wondering what the heck is she doing to me? She'd told me zopiclone is non-addictive, when it's now found to highly so. I can vouch for that! Well, after reading as much as I could on olanzapine (zyprexa), there is no way I'm going to take this med. I am also on Mirtazapine 60mg, nortriptyline 10mg, zoloft 25mg, oxycontin 20mg, & 30mg, oxycodone hydrochloride (endone) 5-10mg prn, pandadeine forte, which is 30mg codeine with 500mg, paracetemol 4 daily, Gabapentin 1800mg, in divided doses daily. Also as stated above, diazepam 5mg 3-4 daily, zopiclone 7.5mg 2 daily, not nightly, (It's a sleep med) but daily. I want to get off all these brain, soul & mind destroying poisons, except perhaps gabapentin as phantom limb pains can be unbearable when you can't rub your leg, foot or toes etc. I no longer suffer depression so will wean off the 3 anti-deps next, then the painkillers, as they no longer work on y arthritis pain. I'm a great believer in Natural Therapies, and already my bowel probs are nearly resolved by taking Chinese herbs. All that needs to be done now, is to have my bowel prolapse operated on. I can now eat solids again, after 5 months of near starvation, & losing 16 kilos from lack of solid food,(but that's another story). Olanzapine is the issue here. Why would my psych prescribe this, when I am not bipolar, schizophrenic or manic/depressive? I'll never ever again mention I've been a little anxious or a bit down. I was referred to her 10 mths ago, to sort out my meds & start me on a weaning off valium plan (which she didn't do) and all she's done is prescribe more dangerous drugs such as seroquel to begin with. I weaned myself off that after 2 weeks of weirdness & nausea. Told her & she then prescribed sertraline 50mg. Too much, I felt so ill on that dose, but was a little depressed at the time so I cut the dose 25mg, as I wanted to trust her & give it a fair go Still on 25mg, but feel I could do without it. Next was the dreaded zopiclone & I trusted her again when she said it's non-addictive. I was having a little trouble sleeping, due to pain. Became addicted so fast that I began needing it during the day, as I was highly anxious when I was put on Tramadol. After weaning then stopping Tramadol, I do get a bit of anxiety if I don't take zopiclone, but can't wait to be off it. I DO NOT like drugs controlling me! Unfortunately, I find I still want zopiclone during the day. I'm down to 1 & a 1/2, but am prescribed 2 a day.

    I WOULD NOT TOUCH OLANZAPINE WITH A TEN FOOT POLE! Not after reading the horror stories from people on this med. Thanks for 'listening'. question

    • christine201

      Hi Christine , jus been reading one of your posts on this forum. I do hope your improving trying to come down off sum of your medications. Im still trying to deal with my coming off Zyprexa im just over 3wks from going cold turkey an it's a terrible drug but im determined to see it thru if I can. I get alot of support from others on the forum going thru or been thru same thing. Im still taking 30mg of Mirtazapine which i cut back from 60mg and in time hope to be off this aswell altho i don't think it is as horrendous as Zyprexa. I also hava Morphine (hydromorph) intrafecal pump in my stomach which delivers via a Catherda tube to my spinal canal jus a fraction from my spinal cord. I have the pump filled up every few wks. The HydroMorphine is releasted on a trickle.. ive had multiple spinal fusions etc and the pump helps me with my back an leg pain. Anyway back to Zyprexa i have terrible aches an pains headaches an terrible insomnia cause of the withdrawals this drug causes. I wish you all the very best with your fight with your various drugs an hopefully u'll get on top of things eventually. Take care Lloyd

  • I'm sorry other people have had problems. I started two days ago - I am not sure of my diagnosis, I think it might be bipolar II or it might be personality...there is a lot going on with me and the docs never agree what is phsyiological/neurological and what is personality... and neither do I!

    I started 10mg at night. Previously I had been in a hellish depression - not getting out of bed, not answering the phone to others. If I tried to sleep at night I would hear loud screams and crashes, I would wake up just as I am falling asleep with horrible anxiety and very unpleasant restless leg syndrome. My nice GP gave me Olanzapine to help me sleep, reduce anxiety, reduce the strength of the urge to withdraw totally.

    The first night I fell asleep very quickly and slept for 10 hours. I normally get headaches when I oversleep but I felt ok, if sluggish, and disorganised/clumsy. Before I fell asleep I felt a wonderful calm for about an hour. My restless leg was playing up but there was no way it could keep me awake.

    Second night, I took some painkillers for toothache. I also took the Olanz after eating some toast last thing. It took me two hours to get to sleep - they were great, I felt incredibly quiet in my head and just... watching a film. I can't explain how long it's been since I had that quiet sense of normality. Actually I think the painkillers were a bad idea, I had a bright closed eye halluicination before sleeping - it was very beautiful but probably not what the doctor is looking for!

    Today, I feel calm. My inner voice still goes nine to the dozen, but my head is usually in one place at one time now. I can concentrate long enough to write without my head racing ahead and confusing all the points I am trying to make.

    The most impressive thing is how I feel around other people. I feel anxious and self-concious but that's maybe because, for the first time in memory, I have the intuitive sense of what others are saying with their body language - I don't look at them as a bundle of limbs and parts of faces and words that could mean any one of a hundred things - I can quickly glance at someone and get a feeling for their mood from their body language.

    Communicating normally seems a bit easier when I am not trying to analyse and cross reference every single word! At the same time I am still anxious, probably because it's a big change, I almost feel like I am starting from scratch with social skills, an area I had been working on for the last year. I can start to see how I come across to others. What it hasn't stopped, is the mild paranoia. And I did feel pretty low midway through the morning, but it was just thirty minutes, as opposed to all day.

    I might even be a bit hypo, lol, because things appear very clear and very solid - the last time this happened I was probably full blown manic.

    Anyway, so far so good. What it has

    I know someone else who took this for a long time. It helped initially but killed her sex drive and made her put on weight. In the end it probably stopped helping her because she became delusional and suicidal. I remember visiting her at the ward once, half an hour after taking the olanz, and she tried to walk out with a crazy look in her eyes. She now takes aripiprazole, which seems to help more. Like me she also takes 300mg of Venlafaxine, she has tried mirtazipine (worked too well!), sertraline (made her impulsive, just like me), and is now being switched to citalopram because she still lacks motivation. It might be working, she just phoned me up and told me she is fed up with bumming around LOL.

    She also takes a lowish dose of Lithium. I guess I will end up on Valproate because of the closed eye / last thing at night hallucinations which are almost like Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. the bangs and screams as I fall asleep are called Exploding Head Syndrome (!!!!), this is a rare condition that I think is also linked to TLE. Bipolar itself like a cousin to TLE, which is why drugs like Valproate are prescribed for both conditions.

    The lesson here is that every drug affects people differently. Keep pestering your doctors - don't be afraid to ask - let them know that you don't expect a miracle but you think something else might work better.

    • Benson Burner

      I have the same problem where doctors disagree and don't know whether this is a matter of physiological/neurological or personality. For me this makes it really hard to know what to do with the path ahead and treatments. It's also made me really unsure of myself as to what in the world is going on with me. This is made particularly hard when I have symptoms right now that I wouldn't normally have and determining whether or not if this is me or zyprexa withdrawal is fun. So for me this not knowing is adverse for me, I don't know whether there is this aspect for you...but how do you mediate not knowing?


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